Learn how to cook greens, like collards, mustard, and turnip. Our guide teaches you selection and prep tips, the best cooking technique, and flavoring too!
So many people are afraid to go down the deep, dark leafy greens path. I know, because I used to be one of them!
I mean, anything that is THAT good for you has to be yucky, right?
Okay, here's the truth of the matter. Dark greens tend to have a strong flavor. They're LOADED with iron and calcium, so due to that nutrient content they can be a little, shall we say, hard to swallow.
Fortunately, we're here to help you find your way to the bright, tasty side of greens -- the happy place where they taste delicious and super satisfying.
I pinky swear! :)
How To Select Greens
If you're new to leafy greens, they all seem to look alike. Well, at least that's what I used to think before I started to cook with them. Collards were the very last green I added to my repertoire.
I don't know, maybe it's because the name sounds so strange. (Collard? What the hell?)
But once you get to know each green a little better, they'll look SO different from each other. Sure, they're all dark and leafy, but soon you'll see the differences are quite striking.
The leaves of collards are quite flat with white "veins" that run from the stem up through the leaves. The leaf begins pretty close to the bottom of the stem. The edges are slightly wavy, but not curly (like some varieties of kale).
Then you have turnip greens, which are similar to collards in the way the leaf is flat with just some wavy ends. However, the leaves are skinnier -- and the stem is quite a bit longer leading up to where the leaf actually begins.
Mustard greens are similar in nature to kale because the leaves are curly. The biggest difference is that if you look closely at a curly kale leaf, you'll see that it is curly nearly from the center of the leaf. Where mustard greens start out flat from the center of the leaf, and get very curly on the edges.
Look for Greens that are firm and not wilting at all. The leaves should look pretty and "at attention", and of course GREEN.
How To Clean and Prep Greens
So, here's the deal. Greens are so bitter, the little critters don't enjoy them. Unlike, say, broccoli which you have to be CERTAIN to clean thoroughly, greens? Well, sometimes if I'm in a hurry I'll just hold them under running water to give them a good rinse.
That said, here is the proper way to clean your greens...
Fill a large bowl or Salad Spinner with fresh water and 1-2 Tbsp. of vinegar or lemon juice (or other foodie acid like lime juice) and soak for 5-10 minutes. Drain and rinse. Your greens are now ready to go.
Just one more thing...
It's best to remove the lower stalks before cooking. That's because the stalks take longer to cook than the leaves. Some people like the stalks, and for some they take some getting used to. I like the added texture it adds to the wilted leaves and highly recommend you give them a try sometime. Just be sure to cut the stalks into 1" pieces for easiest chow down.
How To Cook Greens
Click to learn more about the cooking technique we use and recommend for greens...
Greens Vegan Flavor Matches
Create your very own greens recipes with some of your favorite ingredients from this list of foods that match perfectly.
Try One Of These Vegan Greens Recipes...
Greens Helpful Hints